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Utah Museum of Contemporary Art COVID-19 Exhibition Programming

UMOCA interior (UMOCA)

Although the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is closed due to COVID-19, its programming is still being made accessible to the public online and off-site. The museum has created 360 virtual tours of current exhibitions, allowing viewers to move through the museum and view artworks as if they are actually there. The museum is also revisiting one of its previous public art projects as a way to make local art accessible during quarantine — Lawn Gnomes asks artists to display works in their front yards, on their balconies, and in their windows for members of the public to view while they social distance from the safety of their vehicles or the sidewalk. The project kicks off with seven hand-picked artists but the hope is that the idea will catch on and others will display art visible to neighbors outside their homes as a way of connecting the public to art and each other in these isolating times. To help combat the social distancing blues and offer parents some creative ideas for art-making while home-schooling, the museum’s education staff has designed Art Everyday activities that can be made at home with everyday objects and art supplies. Short and simple instructions can be found on the museum’s social media and website. Additionally, the museum is continuing its Art Truck programming with 360 virtual tours, which can be viewed on the museum’s website.


Although the museum is closed, its virtual doors are wide open. The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has created 360 virtual tours of all of their current exhibitions. These virtual exhibitions allow visitors to move around the museum and view artworks from the safety of their home during social distancing. 360 virtual exhibitions include:

Guerrilla Girls in the Main Gallery Presented by Diane & Sam Stewart
Utah Collects: Contemporary Collecting Practices in the Street Gallery
Devin Harclerode: Boundaries in the Projects Gallery
Jane Christensen: Mapping It Out in the AIR Space


Art in the time of COVID has both challenges and opportunities.

UMOCA’s newest exhibition, Lawn Gnomes 2020, calls on artists, neighbors, makers, and thinkers of all kinds to transform their neighborhoods by installing their own public sculpture! While this project has launched with 7 artists to start, the hope is that others will join in and add to the growing exhibition.

The main idea is to think outside of the gallery walls, expand the role of the artist, and to call upon everyone in the community to innovate and to reimagine lawns as both private and public spaces. While we stay home, stay safe, and social distance, we can still continue to create and to think about new ways to engage our city and our neighbors.

This project draws on a 2011 UMOCA exhibition called Lawn Gnomes East Your Hearts Own, organized by visiting curator Micol Hebron.

While this time is full of change, loss, deep worry, and uncertainty, it doesn’t have to be art free! JOIN THE MOVEMENT! MAKE WORK TODAY!


During social distancing, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art has partnered with Utah poet Alex Caldiero to share a series of poems and drawings from his book Poetry is Wanted Here—a collection written in response to the 9/11 attack. Such writing feels fitting and current all the more now as we share and seek ways to heal, bounded by separate walls, in this collective trauma. The museum has displayed one of Caldiero’s poems on the banners in front of their building on S. West Temple and will feature a different poem every Friday on their social media.

Alex Caldiero is a poet, aritst, sonosopher, and scholar. Born in Sicily, raised in Brooklyn, Caldiero is one of the most distinguished poets of our time. Well known for his performance works that blend music, dance, sounds, and art, he is listed in the famed Dictionary of the Avant-Gardes and Text-Sound Texts and was one of the first artists to show in what was then our new building in 1979.

In 2021, for their 90th anniversary year, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art is excited to announce a forthcoming retrospective exhibition of his work—the first museum to do so.